Lance Hill, a New Orleans civil rights activist, describes
the ongoing debacle of special education in that city.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued the state in 2010 for
pervasive discrimination against students with special needs. Just
recently, SPLC filed another suit against the state department of
education, the state board of education, and Commissioner John
White for continuing discrimination against these students. Lance
Hill writes: “The root-cause of discrimination against
special needs students in New Orleans is the privatized charter
school model in which a school’s viability depends on its ability
to post high or constantly improving annual test scores. Special
needs students are more costly to charters that depend on
inadequate and fixed state funding. The easiest way to decrease
costs and increase test scores in this “competitive market model”
is to exclude special needs students. Louisiana has implemented
some policies to discourage “student skimming” and discrimination,
but we can expect that charters, which are essentially government
funded private businesses, will eventually succumb to market forces
to maximize income over costs–even if it as at the expense of the
most vulnerable and needy student populations.”
of dollars have been poured into New Orleans by philanthropists,
foundations, corporations, and the federal government, all to prove
that privatization is a great success. But the privatizers don’t
tell you about their exclusion of children with special needs. They
prefer to keep it quiet.